First things first – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy on the PlayStation 4 is no simple DLC. This is a full-fledged Uncharted game, shorter than A Thief’s End, but longer than its other predecessors.
Set months after the events of Nathan Drake’s latest adventures, the spotlight is now firmly on fan-favourite Chloe Frazer and badass ex-Shoreline boss, Nadine Ross. This power duo drives much of what’s best about The Lost Legacy, and continues Naughty Dog’s run of impressive story-driven action games.
It’s curious that some folks out there think that this is a DLC though, as if the marketing was somehow afraid to sing that yes, this is an independent Uncharted game led by two strong women.
The Uncharted games have always been about treasure hunting, and this outing is no different. Our heroines are in India searching for the fabled Tusk of Ganesh (or Ganesha). Caught in between a violent uprising and the machinations of mad man/war profiteer Asav, the 8-10 hours journey will treat you to gorgeous vistas (4K on the PS4 Pro is breathtaking), ancient Hoysala ruins, high stakes action set pieces and callbacks to the older games. Heck, a very familiar face even makes an important appearance (no spoilers here!).
Part of the charm of The Lost Legacy is how it immerses you in the story. Learning about the culture and history behind the treasures in each game, within the game, has always stood out as a fascinating educational experience. This time, the focus is on the Hoysala culture, and their clash with the Persians against the backdrop of the fable of Shiva, Parashurama, and Ganesh, weaves a tale that is as believable as it is captivating.
The hunt for the Tusk of Ganesh is one that will hook you to the end. While the motivations behind Asav’s actions are largely over-the-top villainous machinations, the main draw is still the MacGuffin that everybody is after, and the exciting journey, complete with twists and turns, is worth every step taken.
The dynamics between Chloe and Nadine make for some of the game’s best and most memorable moments. Nadine’s no-nonsense approach dovetails surprisingly well with Chloe’s devil-may-care attitude, creating tense standoffs at some moments, and heartwarming exchanges the next.
The Lost Legacy also offers a peek into the backstories of the two ladies, and no surprise here, made them more likeable and cooler in my book. It is a constantly evolving relationship, with ups and downs, but ultimately it is akin to a buddy-cop routine that I wish would continue if there ever was a sequel.
When it comes to combat, the formula remains true to the series’ core tenets, as you run and gun down numerous adversaries that hinder your exploration of wonderfully designed chapters. The combat is fluent, and mixing up gunplay with melee feels visceral. Chloe and Nadine are definitely competent fighters, and the combo moves these two pull off made me feel sorry for their enemies.
The arsenal of firearms available also presented multiple options. Go silent with a silenced pistol, or go in guns blazing with a grenade launcher, you can even skip combat completely by effectively evading everyone (not all the time though). These options echo the game’s excellent environmental design as well, it is open-world in a sense that there are multiple routes to your destination.
The first time you enter the Western Ghats, The Lost Legacy gives you the keys to the kingdom, albeit a small one, to go where you see fit. If you remember the Madagascar chapter from A Thief’s End, then you would be at ease with navigating this large space. Driving around the open area, taking in the sights, discovering secrets, and solving puzzles – this is vintage Uncharted at its peak.
There is no fear of getting lost, as The Lost Legacy confidently eschews the notebook skills of Nathan Drake. Instead, Chloe is armed with a smartphone for opportune photo taking, and a beautiful map that gets filled in each time you stumble onto a new discovery. The new additions manage to add a new spin to established mechanics, and is a welcome change.
Puzzles are essential for any Uncharted game, and there is a good variety of puzzles waiting to be solved by the two adventurers. While they are not overly difficult, it would do you well to plan your moves to save time, and possibly your life. Of course, there are secrets to be found and collectables to gather, from treasures, tokens, photos, optional conversations – enough to keep completionists busy for a good while.
I had a roaring good time with the campaign. The character development and jaw-dropping visuals aside, The Lost Legacy is chocked full of adrenaline-pumping set pieces and one of the best ending sequences ever in an Uncharted game. Plus, it also comes with the full multiplayer experience (including Survival Mode) from A Thief’s End, with even more content relevant to The Lost Legacy. So if you enjoy the Horde-like modes from other games, or just prefer to kick other players’ asses, the multiplayer section has got you covered.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a culmination of everything good about the swashbuckling series, packaged in a shorter, sleeker package. In fact, this is now made better by two of the more standout characters in the franchise, who might make even make fans go, Nathan who now?
If Naughty Dog can continue making such great action games with well-written stories, I will be eagerly waiting for my Scully spinoff title. Do not sleep on The Lost Legacy, as it is definitely a treasure worth hunting for.